A Portrait is a docu-fiction feature that seeks to restore the legacy of Kathleen Parlow, a forgotten Canadian violinist who ranked among the best in the world in the early 1900s. Kathleen Parlow’s story will be told in tandem with the present-day efforts of a fictional character named Audrey Benac to render her history visible through the unearthing of materials from the past.
Benac investigates fragments that Parlow left behind from archives around the world, such as the Edward Johnson Music Library, the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory and the British Library. Throughout the film we follow Audrey’s journey as she attempts to study Parlow’s biography and to reproduce the performance of a lost 112-year-old concerto in an ecstatic memorial act. As Audrey travels and conducts her research she struggles against a toxic relationship with her mother, a disintegrating love life and an arduous bureaucratic process to have the violin concerto performed in Toronto.